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U.S. Lawmakers Raise Concerns Over IEA’s Shift Towards Green Advocacy

Republican lawmakers say green transition ‘cheerleader’ IEA has strayed from mandate

Senior U.S. lawmakers are raising concerns about the International Energy Agency (IEA), accusing it of deviating from its primary mandate of ensuring energy security and instead becoming a vocal advocate for the global shift towards renewable energy.

In a letter dated March 20, penned by Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, ranking member on the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the lawmakers criticized the IEA for what they perceive as a bias against traditional energy sources like oil, natural gas, and coal.

They argue that the IEA’s energy modeling no longer offers policymakers a balanced assessment of energy and climate proposals but rather promotes an agenda focused on transitioning to alternative energy sources.

The letter emphasizes the significant influence of IEA forecasts on global energy trends and calls for the agency to conduct its mission objectively. The lawmakers express concern that biased parties are exploiting IEA forecasts to push policies that undermine energy security.

U.S. Lawmakers Raise Concerns Over IEA's Shift Towards Green Advocacy

U.S. Lawmakers Raise Concerns Over IEA’s Shift Towards Green Advocacy (Credits: CNBC)

The IEA has indeed been at the forefront of advocating for global decarbonization, notably in its landmark 2021 analysis calling for a halt to new oil, gas, and coal developments to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. However, the letter signatories accuse the IEA of lacking objective analysis in its reports, focusing more on aspirations rather than practical considerations for policymakers.

Among their inquiries, the lawmakers question the IEA’s forecasting and modeling methodologies, as well as the extent of funding received from the U.S. Although the IEA does not disclose its donors outright, it states that its budget and scope of work are determined every two years by its governing board and include voluntary contributions from countries, energy stakeholders, and private sources.

The IEA, in response, reaffirms its commitment to maintaining energy security and accelerating clean energy transitions. It welcomes feedback on its work and emphasizes the importance of dialogue with the U.S. Congress on energy policy issues.

The lawmakers’ concerns come amidst a broader geopolitical context, with tensions between oil-producing nations and shifts in U.S. energy policy. The letter arrives months ahead of presidential elections in the United States, where energy issues, including oil production, remain contentious topics.

The U.S. has been a key member of the IEA since its inception in the 1970s, established in response to global oil shocks. Member countries, including the U.S., commit to maintaining oil stock levels equivalent to at least 90 days of their net imports to mitigate supply disruptions.

The IEA’s role in responding to geopolitical events, such as the release of oil stocks in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, underscores its significance in global energy security efforts.

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